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Collaborative Negotiation is Crucial for Leadership Development

 

Bentley University Executive Education offers many Leadership Development programs, all with valuable sessions on Negotiations.  Here is a reprint of a recent blog by Becky Blackler titled:

Collaborative Negotiation for CFOs: Split The Orange For More Juice

LeadershipBecky Blackler is the Executive Director of The CFO RoundTable, considered the premier CFO education and networking group on the East Coast. Blackler has served in various positions with The CFO RoundTable since 2009, including its original administrator and Marketing Chair, and has helped to double its membership size, institute its affiliate partnership program, establish new chapters in Boston and NYC, as well as produce its highly-acclaimed annual CFO conferences.


 Negotiations for Leadership DevelopmentIt has been said that everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, The CFO RoundTable Boston hosted “Managing Relationships As We Negotiate,” where we discussed different approaches to negotiation and conflict resolution that focused on collaboration and open discourse that lead to mutually beneficial conclusions for both parties.

Our speaker was Michael J. O'Halloran, Professor of Management, Bentley University. To download a PDF copy of Michael's slides, please click here.

What Did We Learn?

Choose Your Negotiation Approach Wisely

Some people play it close to the vest. Other people lay everything out on the table. And of course, let’s not forget those who love to haggle.

Because negotiation is a highly complex form of communication that can be emotionally charged, choosing the way you approach your negotiation will dictate the success of your outcome. After all, while the negotiation process can be competitive, being too competitive can damage your relationship and escalate conflict with the other party.

Therefore, think critically about the way you approach the other party in your negotiation. Is this a party that you need to maintain a positive and productive relationship with after the outcome? If the answer is yes (and 9 times out of 10, it is,) get out of your defensive mode and open up to a collaborative approach.

Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood

There is a classic negotiation story that goes like this:

Two girls are fighting over one orange. To quickly resolve the conflict, their mother cuts the orange in half, and gives each girl one half of the orange. Later, she sees one daughter throw her rind away as she wanted to make juice. She sees her other daughter throw the fruit away, as she wanted to bake with the orange rind.

Besides keeping more fruit in the house, the lesson is clear – if the mother had first asked “Why do you want the orange?” of each of the girls, both would have gotten exactly what they wanted without having to disadvantage the other.

This example illustrates the collaborative approach to negotiation which addresses the needs and commonalities of each party involved, and invites a full exchange of ideas. This approach requires each party to understand the other’s position by asking ‘why,’ and to come up with options that provide mutual gain.

Pay Attention To The Intangible Factors

We’ve all learned that our body language can betray or support the words that we say, which directly effects how our negotiation proceeds. But did you know that intangible factors, such as the timing of your meetings, the lighting in the room, even how the seats are arranged, can play an important part in the success or failure of negotiations?

Successful negotiations are won not just through their approach, but through the careful management of intangible factors that can either act as catalysts or roadblocks for your conversation. For example, if it’s a one-on-one negotiation, sit side by side with the other party, or at least off to the side, rather than directly across from them. This way, you communicate that you are working alongside the other party to solve the problem together, rather than going to battle with them.

Further, choose your communication channel wisely. Face to face is always best, but, if you must negotiate over phone or email, be sure it’s only after you have established a level of rapport with the other party before your meeting. This way, you’ll be able to better understand the tone and inflection of the conversation, how to set the other party at ease and avoid trigger points if necessary.

Disrupt The Disruptors

We all have a story about a negotiation that went sour. Someone was chronically late to appointments, others could be counted on to always come back with unrealistic rebuttals, or even some were just plain out of line.

Whatever the case is, while these disruptors might just be trying to play hardball, they are disrupting the negotiation with their behavior and potentially damaging the outcome for both sides.

The easiest way to disrupt these disruptors is simply to say ‘no’ to their bad behavior. Call them out on their disruptive tendencies, and explain how it’s affecting your relationship.

 

  Learn about Collaborative Negotiations atBentley University Executive Education Programs

 

Collaborative Negotiation for CFOs: Split The Orange For More Juice

 

CFO Negotiation StrategiesIt has been said that everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another thing.

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, The CFO RoundTable Boston hosted Managing Relationships As We Negotiate,” where we discussed different approaches to negotiation and conflict resolution that focused on collaboration and open discourse that lead to mutually beneficial conclusions for both parties.

Our speaker was Michael J. O'Halloran, Professor of Management, Bentley University. To download a PDF copy of Michael's slides, please click here.

What Did We Learn?

Choose Your Negotiation Approach Wisely

Some people play it close to the vest. Other people lay everything out on the table. And of course, let’s not forget those who love to haggle.

Because negotiation is a highly complex form of communication that can be emotionally charged, choosing the way you approach your negotiation will dictate the success of your outcome. After all, while the negotiation process can be competitive, being too competitive can damage your relationship and escalate conflict with the other party.

Therefore, think critically about the way you approach the other party in your negotiation. Is this a party that you need to maintain a positive and productive relationship with after the outcome? If the answer is yes (and 9 times out of 10, it is,) get out of your defensive mode and open up to a collaborative approach.

Seek First To Understand, Then Be Understood

There is a classic negotiation story that goes like this:

Two girls are fighting over one orange. To quickly resolve the conflict, their mother cuts the orange in half, and gives each girl one half of the orange. Later, she sees one daughter throw her rind away as she wanted to make juice. She sees her other daughter throw the fruit away, as she wanted to bake with the orange rind.

Besides keeping more fruit in the house, the lesson is clear – if the mother had first asked “Why do you want the orange?” of each of the girls, both would have gotten exactly what they wanted without having to disadvantage the other.

This example illustrates the collaborative approach to negotiation which addresses the needs and commonalities of each party involved, and invites a full exchange of ideas. This approach requires each party to understand the other’s position by asking ‘why,’ and to come up with options that provide mutual gain.

Pay Attention To The Intangible Factors

We’ve all learned that our body language can betray or support the words that we say, which directly effects how our negotiation proceeds. But did you know that intangible factors, such as the timing of your meetings, the lighting in the room, even how the seats are arranged, can play an important part in the success or failure of negotiations?

Successful negotiations are won not just through their approach, but through the careful management of intangible factors that can either act as catalysts or roadblocks for your conversation. For example, if it’s a one-on-one negotiation, sit side by side with the other party, or at least off to the side, rather than directly across from them. This way, you communicate that you are working alongside the other party to solve the problem together, rather than going to battle with them.

Further, choose your communication channel wisely. Face to face is always best, but, if you must negotiate over phone or email, be sure it’s only after you have established a level of rapport with the other party before your meeting. This way, you’ll be able to better understand the tone and inflection of the conversation, how to set the other party at ease and avoid trigger points if necessary.

Disrupt The Disruptors

We all have a story about a negotiation that went sour. Someone was chronically late to appointments, others could be counted on to always come back with unrealistic rebuttals, or even some were just plain out of line.

Whatever the case is, while these disruptors might just be trying to play hardball, they are disrupting the negotiation with their behavior and potentially damaging the outcome for both sides.

The easiest way to disrupt these disruptors is simply to say ‘no’ to their bad behavior. Call them out on their disruptive tendencies, and explain how it’s affecting your relationship.

- See more at: http://www.thecforoundtable.com/news/bid/375994/collaborative-negotiation-for-cfos-split-the-orange-for-more-juice?source=Blog_Email_[Collaborative%20Negoti]#sthash.wVbxQcPU.dpuf

3 Steps to Identify the Data Analytics Training You Need

 
Data Analytics 4 resized 600

Many professionals are faced daily with the ever growing volume of data available from multiple sources within and outside their organizations.  The real challenge is how to get it, what to do with it, and to understand what it means.  Being able to answer these questions can be a key for making important strategic decisions.  If you are looking to develop your skills for gathering and analyzing business intelligence, here is a great article which can help you sift thru the many available options to maximize the use of data analytics in your current position or future positions.

Reprinted with permission

professional headshot resized 600 Piyanka Jain, President and CEO of Aryng - a management consulting company focused on Analytics and author of the upcoming book “Behind Every Good Decision”, is a well-regarded industry thought leader in analytics, keynoting at business and analytics conferences including American Marketing Association, Predictive Analytics World, GigaOm, Google Analytics User Conference on data driven decision making to gain competitive advantage. With her 15 years of experience in analytics, she has had 150M+ demonstrated impact on business.  http://www.Aryng.com | Follow @AnalyticsQueen


You know your keynotes at conferences have a positive impact when they raise awareness. My keynotes raise awareness not just to the science that is analytics and its application, but also the need to achieve erudition at it. I know, because one of the most commonly asked post-keynote questions I get is – “I’m very interested in furthering my knowledge in Analytics. Given my background, could you suggest what kind of analytics training should I look for?”

The past few years, have borne witness to a boom in analytics education – be it an Analytics major in a multi-year Master’s Degree, Software tool training, Multi-day workshops or even concise online tutorials.  The multitude of offerings, while all relevant, make the task of selecting the appropriate program very arduous for professionals. Additionally, there is not enough clarity on pertinence, process and practice to answer the one key question – what is truly needed to succeed in analytics? 

If you have been looking to get trained in analytics and have also been wondering how to choose, I recommend following these 3 steps to find out what you need, based your own background and where you want to go.

STEP 1: Identify what you want to do

What current/future role are you going for: are you/do you want to be an analyst/data scientist? Or are you a business professional, looking to leverage analytics in your day to day work flow?

STEP 2: Identify the skills gap you have based on what you want to do

As you can imagine, the skills needed for business professionals within Marketing, Product etc. functions to leverage data effectively is going to be somewhat different from that of a data scientist. Data scientists need deeper technical skills and skills to work effectively with business professionals. The 6 key analytics skills used by successful analyst/data scientist are:

  • DTD framework: Understanding and hands-on experience of the basic “Data to Decisions” framework
  • SQL skills: Ability to pull data from multiple sources and collate: experience in writing SQL queries and exposure to tools like Teradata TDC +0.43%, Oracle ORCL NaN% etc. Some understanding of Big Data tools using Hadoop is also helpful.
  • Basic “applied” stat techniques: Hands-on experience with basic statistical techniques: Profiling, Correlation analysis, Trend analysis, Sizing/Estimation, Segmentation (RFM, product migration etc.)
  • Working effectively with business side: Ability to work effectively with stakeholders by building alignment, effective communication and influencing
  • Advanced “applied” stat techniques (hands-on): Hands-on comfort with advance techniques: Time Series,  Predictive Analytics – Regression and Decision Tree, Segmentation (K-means clustering) and Text Analytics (optional)
  • Stat Tools: Experience with one or more statistical tools like SAS, R, SPSS, Knime or others.

On the other hand, business professionals need easy access to data through some kind of tool like Business Object, Micro strategy etc., basic analysis skills and ability to work effectively with data scientists and analysts. The 4 key analytics skills needed by business professionals are:

  • DTD framework: Understanding and hands-on experience of the basic “Data to Decisions” framework
  • Basic “applied” stat techniques: Hands-on experience with basic statistical techniques: Profiling, Correlation analysis, Trend analysis, Sizing/Estimation, Basic Segmentation
  • Working effectively with analysts: Ability to work effectively with Data Scientists/Analyst
  • Advanced “applied” stat techniques (intro): High level understanding of advance techniques: Time Series, Predictive Analytics – Regression and Decision Tree, Segmentation

STEP 3: Based on skills gap you identified, choose the most appropriate training option

Given what you want to do, figure out the skills gap you have and fill out the chart below. Depending on the gaps, there 3 major options to get the analytics training you need:

Analytics Skills Chart resized 600

Analytics Training Skills Chart

  1. Master’s degree in Analytics: Several universities including NCSU, Northwestern, LSU, Bentley and many more are offering Master’s degree in Analytics often by combining courses from their Statistics, Computer Science and Management department. In my experience, this program is most useful for individuals with no quantitative background but looking for future data scientist/analyst roles. These programs are fairly comprehensive but are as a result, time consuming and often not appropriate for working professionals. Some universities do offer online options making it more accessible.
  2. Semester courses at local universities: Most universities offer semester/quarterly courses from statistics and computer science department, often as part of continuing education program. These courses are most appropriate for data scientist/analyst/people with some quantitative background who are looking to pick up incremental skills for their current analytics role – for e.g. if are in an analytics role and you have never used R, you can take a semester course like “programming in R”.
  3. Professional Workshop: Many consulting companies like Aryng, EMC EMC -0.43%, and individual consultants like Abbott Analytics, Prediction Impact, Universities and others offer short analytics training most appropriate for working professionals. Depending on their area of focus, these short courses are most appropriate for business professionals looking to leverage data to make better decisions and analyst looking to pick incremental skills. The most valuable aspect of these courses are that these are courses geared towards business and often taught by analytics professionals who have seen analytics in action as applied to business. Downside of these courses are, they are not comprehensive and often don’t cover all the statistical concepts. But being short in duration, they are very accessible by most working professionals. Statistical tool companies, like SAS, SPSS etc. are good places to get the respective tool training.

But in the end, do your own due diligence and be sure to match the gaps you have identified with the courses you choose to take.

Bentley University Executive Education offers many programs for all phases of leadership, finance, human resource development and data analytics.

Learn more about Data Analytics for Managers

We welcome your input below:

Five Characteristics of Habits to Influence Leadership

 

 

C  Users dkennedy Pictures clip art Winter

It is January and we have all been receiving commentaries related to the ‘New Year’ and our plans and resolutions to do better, get thinner, change things and even lead more effectively.  I’ve never been very good at resolutions.   For many, it is now January 8 and our well-thought out resolutions are already a thing of the past.  

Maybe it is time to think differently.   Lately, I’ve been reading the book “The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” -  by Charles Duhigg.  It has been thought-provoking and helpful in considering making actual change in the weeks and months ahead and perhaps you will find some encouragement in taking a new approach to change, not just in January but in general.  Here are some comments from Duhigg’s book that I found particularly relevant for personal change as well as for leadership and organizational effectiveness:

  • “More than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits. “
  • “Habits are a three-step loop – the cue, the routine and the reward.  To change a habit, you must keep the old cue and deliver the old reward but insert a new routine.”
  • “Belief was the ingredient that made a reworked habit loop into a permanent behavior.”
  • “A community can create the belief needed.  When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real. Your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group.”
  • “Small wins fuel transformative changes.”

Perhaps you have some large goals for the year ahead and have put the plans in place for the ways in which you will achieve those goals.  Hopes are high, budgets are fresh and the months stretch ahead with possibilities.  If your objectives are achievable with routine schedules and processes already in place, you will likely succeed.  If, however, your organization wants innovation and change is on the agenda, you may need to think about your habits and those of your team.

Duhigg suggests that we all operate in patterns, as individuals and groups.  Most of these are highly ingrained and supported by rewards systems and cultural influences beyond our control.   Our work groups and our resulting effectiveness form around these patterns over long periods and communities create beliefs that fuel not only habits but the ability to change.   As a leader, are there habits  that hold you back?   How will we begin to think differently to identify and change the routines that drive exceptional results this year, for ourselves and for our groups?

One approach, and a personal favorite, was featured on a TedTalk by Matt Cutts who encourages ‘Trying Something New for 30 Days.’  (http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days.html)  The idea of choosing one thing in a relatively short time span seems achievable and fun.  At the end of the 30-day period, there is a definite sense of accomplishment.  Maybe this approach could encourage us to change those long-held routines.   Are there 30-day challenges that may be relevant for you or for your work team?   What ‘small wins’ might result that could transform your results for the year? 

Alternatively, you may want to consider ways to encourage new thoughts which can drive the development of new routines by investing in refreshment of the mind.   As someone who works in a University, the ability to be surrounded by ideas and different points of view is refreshing on a daily basis.  Managers and leaders who join us for short programs have an opportunity to step away, consider and share.  Most leave with one or more implementable ideas that they take back to their workplace and all leave grateful for the benefit received of both the time and investment to think freely for a few days out of the year.

Whatever your approach, may your year bring encouragement, invigorating thought and personal and professional achievement in 2014. 

  Find the Leadership Program That Is Right For You

Timing is Everything - Manager's Learn 3 New Ways to Alter Time!

 

As we step into 2014, full of the possibilities for the upcoming year, mangagers everywhere are looking for ways to improve, stay fresh, come up with breakthru solutions, motivate staff and be a better leader. Here is a good read from Deri Latimer, who is an expert in positive possibilities for people!

Reprinted with Permission

2014 Deri Latimer Photo 2 resized 600

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!

 

describe the image

Remember that song from Rocky Horror Picture Show...Let's Do the Time Warp Again?  Some of the lyrics suggest that 'it’s astounding’, ‘time is fleeting', and I have to say that is certainly true for me as I get older. Do you feel the same way? A post by Maria Popova titled 'Why Time Slows Down When We are Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation' caught my attention - especially at this time of year when many of us have been on some form of vacation over the holidays.

In the post, Maria reviews acclaimed BBC broadcaster and psychology writer Claudia Hammond's book Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.  This quote in particular caught my attention:

"We construct the experience of time in our minds, so it follows that we are able to change the elements we find troubling — whether it’s trying to stop the years racing past, or speeding up time when we’re stuck in a queue, trying to live more in the present, or working out how long ago we last saw our old friends."

Time really does slow down when we are in fear.  If you have ever experienced an automobile accident, you know that it seems to happen in slow motion.  Well, Hammond says it is indeed a cognitive reality that time slows down on those fear-filled occasions.  In this post in Discover Magazine, Don Foley and Steven Johnson demonstrate how recent research shows that when something bad happens to you, part of your brain begins thinking independently, storing its own memories so it can save/protect you the next time.

And, time really does speed up as we age.  Part of the reason time seems to go slower when we are younger, is because of the amount of 'novelty' present in our lives.  Think about your late teens and early 20's, and all of the 'firsts' you experienced at that time: your first job, your first love, your first move away from home.

Finally, there is some warping that happens when we are on vacation too.  Popova writes '... one of the most enchanting instances of time-warping is what Hammond calls the Holiday Paradox — “the contradictory feeling that a good holiday whizzes by, yet feels long when you look back.” (An “American translation” might term it the Vacation Paradox.) Her explanation of its underlying mechanisms is reminiscent of legendary psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s theory of the clash between the “experiencing self” and the “remembering self”

So what can we all do to mess with time in a meaningful way?  Consider these warping strategies:

Do Something that Scares You: You do not need to risk your life to experience the rush of adrenalin that you get when you are in real fear. You can simply do something that for you – is a bit of a risk. What conversation do you need to have, that you have been avoiding? Have it.  What story could you tell your team that shows your vulnerability? Share it. What's been on your 'bucket list' that you could make a reality in 2014?  Jump in.

Create Lots of Firsts: Decide, as you set goals for the New Year, to add novelty into your life. Do something for the first time. It might be something simple like arriving at work following a different route, changing your home routine, or giving a compliment to a complete stranger. Or, it could be something bigger like taking your spouse out to the newest night club in town (which opens way past your bedtime of 9:30 p.m.), participating in a company social event for the first time, or entering a sporting event featuring a sport you have never tried.  Do it.

Be in the Moment: Be where you are.  Just be.  Practice letting everything else go and be present in your life.  Try something new (even if it scares you) and truly experience it in its fullness.  Perhaps you need to tell someone in your life just how much you appreciate them.  You might feel vulnerable, and it might be a first for you. You can mess with time even more fully when you anticipate it, fully experience it, and then reminisce about it at the end of the day. Make every day a vacation. Be there.

Are you ready to do the time warp again?  It's a jump to the left and then a step to the right...

I wish you a hopeful, happy, and healthy 2014!

If you are ready to do something different this year - why not explore one of Bentley University's leadership development programs geared towards developing your full potential.

Find the Leadership Program That Is Right For You

 

“Bee” Smart Leadership - Nurture Employee Talent

 

From Bentley IMPACT - The Power of Ideas
The Changing World of Business


Professor Susan Adams, Program Manager for Bentley University Executive Education Women's Executive Leadership Program talks about employee development as a leader.

 

Support and direction nurture employee talent.          Professor Susan Adams

Wish your employer would treat you like a rock star? Chances are you're being treated more like a worker bee. And that's not good.

Instead of nurturing talents and giving employees the resources to “transfer more pollen” in the corporate landscape, many managers are sacrificing development in the name of efficiency. And like bees, they're producing less and less as a result.

I am not advocating that companies ignore technology and its attendant efficiencies. But managers should ask: What are the repercussions for treating millions of employees like they're just another piece of hardware . . . just another worker bee? Check labor statistics if you have any doubts: Wages for middle-class households rose about 6 percent over the last two decades, versus a 58 percent rise for top earners. 

TIME magazine took recent note of the honeybees’ plight and confirmed they're in big trouble.

As they survive by feeding on a variety of flowers, bees pollinate our food sources. Certain types of nectar are necessary for their health and sticky substances from other plants strengthen their living environments. Humans, however, are altering nature so that the food and materials needed for survival are difficult to find or toxic. Agricultural farms are mono-cultural, with acres of the same crop. Fertilizers and pesticides used to increase production are harming and driving away bees.

Business organizations do much the same thing when they cut costs by focusing on efficiencies and eliminating what feeds and supports employees. People need time and space for human interaction at work to stimulate ideas that can benefit the company, to seek emotional support during stressful times, and to learn from each other. They also need to take home a sense of self-worth that comes from feeling valued.

Millennials expect a “work family” that considers both career and life, and guides them toward achieving their goals. Managers should offer praise but, more important, provide constructive feedback that leads to better performance. Millennials are used to receiving a lot of support and direction, and like the bees, they need visible pathways to sustain them. If they can’t see a path in your organization, they won’t hesitate to go elsewhere. Show that you care about an employee’s personal life by allowing for time to juggle both life and work, with regular check-ins about stress levels and what they might need.  

This isn’t a one-way street. Millennials should avoid a narrow focus on only the “beautiful flowers.”

  • Appreciate experience. Don’t dismiss the knowledge that more seasoned colleagues can provide or assume they will block your chances at career advancement.
  • Embrace failure as a lesson. This helps develop resilience.
  • Be observant. You’ll learn how experience creates wisdom.
  • Appreciate the moment. Doing so projects optimism, makes others want to work with you, and helps you harvest lessons from daily experiences.
  • Practice independence to develop the skills to guide the next generation.

Does the decline in satisfying employees’ human needs threaten our frail economy just as the bees’ decline threatens the natural world?

The good news is that individual employees may buck the trend by prevailing upon their bosses. My research at Bentley’s Center for Women and Business indicates that millennials, in search of authenticity, find job satisfaction (and resulting productivity) through their relationship to their immediate supervisor. And those managers often find ways to nurture employees, despite declines in resources and incentives.

For C-level executives, the message is simple. Want more flowers in your corporate garden? Make sure you keep investing in those worker bees.

Susan Adams is professor of management and senior director of the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University.

                           Learn More and Register

Leadership Development - Learn Something New

 


Develop your leadership skills at Bentley University

Leadership development involves curiosity and continuous learning. When  was the last time when you attempted to learn something that was new to you?  Perhaps it was a sport or a hobby, or perhaps it was a new discipline applicable to your work-life.   It isn’t easy. When we have been in the world of business for any length of time, we tend to become expert in our area.   Our focus may be to become the ‘go-to’ person for a certain type of information or service.  We know things.  We own the expertise, and it shapes a large piece of our career identity.  

Switching gears can be a challenge.  However, in today’s business environment, the pace of change is increasing exponentially.  In the area of technology alone, we are all being challenged to take on new ways of doing business.   Information comes our way at top speed with a continuous flow of ideas, articles, email and blogs.   Most of it is good information, intriguing and worth a few moments of our time, but there is so much to take in.  Recently I had an opportunity to spend a day at a leading edge marketing conference.  I was surrounded by young, enthusiastic and experienced marketers who were all far more knowledgeable in the subject areas at hand.   There were new ideas, terminology and platforms presented. It was foreign territory.   The choice was clear – either learn something new or become quickly irrelevant. 

Our organizations need managers and leaders who can adapt to new markets and to changes in existing markets, technologies and methods.  Change and adaptation are difficult, requiring encouragement and patience.   It may have been quite some time since most have been in a college classroom or graduate program in which the goal was to exchange ideas and learn new things.  Our leaders want to remain relevant – to remain at the top of their game throughout their career.  Mid-managers don’t want to lose ground to those now entering the workforce.   At Bentley, we create environments for short-term learning that value the individual and provide leading-edge concepts for growth. Managers from different companies and industries meet for a few days to expand their knowledge-base. 

Custom programs are designed and delivered for high potential leaders and delivered on-site or on our campus.  There are opportunities for executive women's leadership, business acumen, emerging leaders and new supervisor development.  If you are more ambitious, you could consider a specialty Masters degree in marketing analytics, business analytics, information technology or user experience Why not stretch a bit this fall?  Join us for a ‘Mini-MBA’ professional program or one of our leadership programs.  It’s back-to-school season and we look forward to meeting you! 

Find the Leadership Program That Is Right For You

Leadership Development Programs for Women do Matter!

 
women leadership networking

"Why have a separate leadership development program for women?"  We often hear this question and it is valid.   Corporate women have made great strides in integrating into business culture. Many women are tired of being separated by category. Mixed gender executive training is an extremely effective mode for management development.  However, we believe there are still reasons to offer an opportunity for senior level women to meet together over a span of time to learn about their personal leadership style and the ways in which they can become more effective as they move into executive roles within their organization.  

There remains quite a bit of thought and discussion with regard to the progress of women in corporate organizations.  This past weekend, the New York Times  published an article that has created a lot of 'buzz' around gender and the business environment, in this case as a result of a study at the Harvard Business School. Many were surprised at the findings of the research which traced gender relationships among peers as they completed their MBA. Despite the best efforts of all involved, there still seemed to be barriers to full inclusion in this selective business setting.  While corporations have put forth best efforts for many years and there have been great changes, it seems there is still work to be done.   

At Bentley University, we offer an executive women's leadership program that has drawn mid-to-senior level directors, vice presidents and above.   The leadership content is not gender specific - it is simply great leadership development material that would apply to all within the management structure.   The difference is the discussion that takes place and the candor with which the participants share their challenges and shape their future growth objectives.  

Here are what some of the women have said about the program:

"This experience allowed me to take a step back to get perspective about myself as an employee, a leader and as a woman in each of these roles."

"Great and insightful, very active and loved the group interactions."

"Absolutely incredible experience!"

"Very well executed. As I said, good mix of principles and discussion/drills."

"This program was stimulating, enlightening, fun, sometimes challenging and rewarding. I learned much more than I thought I would about what it means and what it takes to succeed in an organization."

Perhaps they would have had a similar response in a mixed gender program. Our feedback indicates that the peer network that the women develop and maintain provide a lasting value well beyond the completion of their time with us. The difference is connection.  The connections formed and the professional relationships forged have been transformative in providing the supportive network outside of one's company for help and advice with the challenges of a current or future role.   

At some point, perhaps a leadership program designed specifically for women will be a relic of business past.  For now, it seems that there is still a need and that the results can be exceptional.  Please share your thoughts below.

 Learn more about Executive Leadership Programs Designed for Women

The Race for Leadership Development Programs for Executives

 

Leadership RAce

All have the potential to become effective leaders.

With the economic upswing, more businesses are investing in leadership development.  They need to quickly develop new talent to succeed in growing their businesses, but leadership development is a process - not an event or program.  It takes time.   Recently, the Wall Street Journal posted an article entitled "Life in the Slow Lane:  Some Bikers Savor Leisurely Rides in the Saddle"(WSJ 8/17-18, 2013).  It was an entertaining fluff piece about those of us who may prefer softer bike seats and non-lycra riding garb versus those whose goal is to pedal as fast as possible on sleek and fashionable equipment with only the finest biking attire. The slower riders took more time to converse, to notice the scenery, to stop for coffee.  The sleek riders focused on speed and reaching the finish line. The goal for all was to complete the journey in a manner matching their personality and skill set.  This prompted thoughts about the career 'race' and the ways in which leaders evolve.

At Bentley Executive Education, we work to develop leadership and management skills with mid-to-senior managers and see a variety of management personalities at all career stages.   All begin at the starting line - freshly minted degrees in hand with differing personalities and high aspirations . Some rise quickly to the top.  They have the right skill sets and access to mentors and sponsors along the way who teach them which routes will facilitate a rapid rise.   Others may be a bit slower, developing a broad array of skilled and technical disciplines and building many networks before beginning into a management role.   All require support, education, meaningful stretch assignments and opportunities to expand beyond their comfort zone.  All have the potential to become effective leaders, adding value to their companies where it really matters - with people. Without exception, participants in our programs express an eagerness to learn new things and a sense of refreshment when given the chance to step away for a few days with peers from other industries to discuss concepts, participate actively in exercises and simulations and develop action plans for their businesses. They enjoy the process from different perspectives and bring a variety of skills to the mix.  Most of all, they express a deep sense of feeling valued by the organizations they represent. 

We are preparing for a new academic year here at Bentley, and are gearing up to meet many fascinating managers and executives in our upcoming executive programs. Some will have taken the sleek fast ride so far while others are mid-way in their journey.  We look forward to 'sharing the ride' with them. We welcome your thoughts on developing leaders.  Why not join us?

 

Management Development: Shaping Executive Leadership

 

C  Users dkennedy Pictures Microsite Bentley 1How do managers develop executive leadership skills and presence?

As we begin a new academic year here on campus, I’ve been asked to define what our philosophy is in the area of leadership development.  Over a long corporate career, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in and select consultants for developing leadership and team building skills.  It is never an easy equation, and there is a great deal of thought leadership around the topic.   At Bentley University, we believe that ‘soft skills’ which are so critical to success involve a thoughtful approach and specific practical actions by an individual over the course of their education and career. Our goal is transformative thinking with an emphasis on the individual and on creating inclusive environments for curiosity, learning and growth. 

Leaders require skill sets that are uniquely suited to moving groups toward organizational objectives in ways that are effective and produce results in a cost-efficient manner.   Some people seem to have these skills naturally – they are outgoing, organized and resourceful.  Others have amazing technical breadth and value, but have not had experience in managing groups or teams and can easily stumble in their initial attempts to let others perform the necessary projects. 

In our executive leadership engagements, we work to create spaces in which trust can be developed quickly and ideas shared openly.  Our faculty members have exposure to many types of companies and organizations and they are involved in and aware of the latest research and thought related to organizational behavior and leadership development.  As facilitators, they excel at encouraging participation by all and forming relationships among group members. 

Executives and managers who have participated in a Bentley program comment that they most appreciate:

  • The presentation of concepts and ideas by graduate school faculty members with many years of experience in academic, consulting and organizational settings who have a genuine interest in getting to know them and maintain contact beyond the program if requested

  • A focus on application of learned concepts in practice – not just theory

  • Participant groups that are supportive and involved with each other long after the leadership program ends

  • Active engagement by all participants and post-program follow-up

  • Continued connection with Bentley through forums and breakfasts, speaking opportunities on campus, finding and hiring great interns and graduates and a sense of community with our group

Leadership development is not a formula.  It is, instead, a set of opportunities to learn and change over a period of time with the support of peers and others in the organization and in a professional network for the long term.  This takes a little bit of time and commitment and a great deal of thought and willingness to change.   We work with individuals and groups to insure that the successful implementation of new ideas practices will produce lasting results for individuals and organizations and that all will be refreshed to move forward. 

 

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